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Kelly Eisenhour: Seek and Find

Another member of the too-large club of superior jazz vocalists deserving of widespread popularity, Tucson, Ariz.-born Kelly Eisenhour boasts a seductive voice that is at once cognac-smooth and espresso-rich. The Berklee grad, now based in Salt Lake City, has been singing, writing, arranging and teaching for a quarter-century, and the depth of her experience shows throughout this, her third album. Saxophonist Bob Mintzer is given co-credit on the disc’s cover, but his involvement in these dozen consistently fine tracks is no less praiseworthy than that of pianist Steve Keen, guitarist Kenji Aihara, bassist Matt Larson or percussionist Jay Lawrence (all of whom contributed, as did Eisenhour, to gorgeously understated arrangements that echo the dusky beauty of Bill Charlap and his trio mates).

As demonstrated here by stunning readings of “Too Late Now,” “I Only Have Eyes for You,” “My Man’s Gone Now,” Horace Silver’s haunted “Lonely Woman” and a gently bossa-spiced “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was,” Eisenhour is a sublime standards-bearer. She also handles “Wheelers and Dealers” with a subtlety that appreciably heightens the bite of Dave Frishberg’s lyric. But the track that stands head and shoulders above the estimable rest is “Confession of Love,” a vocalese reinterpretation of “I’m Confessin'” shaped by Eisenhour from a transcription of a Lester Young recording.

Originally Published